Reading Week: 4

January 29, 2012 by Rieshy

There's a two week hole in my reading.  Various family illnesses, root canals and days so crazy full trying to catch up that I've been fairly brain dead in the evenings.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Instead of serious reading I listened to Beastly (unadulterated enjoyable fluff full of holes) by Alex Flinn as a German audio book, and read half of Tintenherz, by Cornelia Funke.  I was listening to Tintenherz as I read it in order to work on my German accent, but the crazy music in between random chapters started to drive me crazy.

Why would an Australian Didjeridoo be played so often and so loooooong, and so annoyingly between chapters in a book that takes place in Europe?  Why do audio book producers add music at all?

Or maybe my fever was higher than I thought and it all made perfect sense?

My dd claimed that I found Inkheart depressing when I read it years ago only because the translation to English added a more somber tone.  She's been promising that Tintenherz  is actually quite fun.  I am enjoying it.  After all, what reader hasn't imagined being able to physically enter the world of a book at will.  I'm just not seeing a lighthearted adventure, even in the original German.  It's possible I'm too much of a mom and am distracted with unnecessary worry over Elinor's library, Capricorn's revenge and how much school Meggie is missing.

I'm off to start The Nibelungenlied this week.  Perhaps a story from the middle ages full of violence and betrayal will be a break from a children's story full of... violence and betrayal.

Happy Reading!

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What the Bayeux Tapestry Doesn't Show

January 26, 2012 by Rieshy

Forget about the Doomsday Book and the massive redistribution of land ownership and the changes in law, The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was pivotal because that's when we became dandified by the Normans and started saying beef instead of, "Here's your cowflesh, enjoy your meal."

Yesterday, when I told my 5 yo son we were having fish sandwiches he laughed inexplicably heartily. I waited.

"You're gonna lay dead fish in between two slices of bread?

"Well, yes my little Germanic-Saxon that is precisely and grossly exactly what I'm going to do."

He paused a moment, "Well I KNOW they won't have little x's on their eyeballs."

That's a relief.

Perhaps I should spend some time showing him the Bayeux Tapestry and avoiding Fleischer Studio dvds.

File:Bayeux hawking.jpg

There's that Fleisch again.

Pros And Cons

January 25, 2012 by Rieshy

Just noticed my post title could refer to the Ocean's 11 series.  That's not what I meant.

I've been pondering this morning how when you mentally list the pros of something they may betray one by appearing simultaneously on the cons list.

For instance, when listing the pros and cons of home schooling chronically ill children the pro list might include:

  1. Home schooling year round so that it's easy to take time off for hospitalizations and doctors appointments without blowing your school year.
  2. Being able to teach to your child's individual level in all subjects.
  1. Having to home school year round well, bummer.
  2. Being able to teach to your child's individual level is more work, duh.
Another example of tricky pros and cons is having a veggie garden pro and con list:
  1. Fresh veggies.
  2. Getting to work outside.
  1. Fresh veggies are noticeably lacking on my children's personal pro list.
  2. Getting to work outside, emphasis on the word work as opposed to toddling about in the sunshine with pretty garden tools.

This is why I should go back to bed and eat bonbons, in the off chance that the world will become black and white in my absence.

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Reading Week: 2

January 15, 2012 by Rieshy

The Sick-In-Bed Edition

This week, Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenback, was on the list.  It was an odd read, until I awoke in the middle of the night and got one of the jokes.  Oh yeah- note to self, it has comedic elements.  But mostly lots of red lips on both men and women, and a general lack of any character that was not exceptional in every way.  

I need a book on chivalric customs because many of the scenes were so- odd.

If anyone thinks soap-operas are a recent contrivance then they need to take a gander at medieval works or norse myths or The Epic of Gilgamesh for that matter.  

My father, whom I successfully bullied into reading along and happened to already have a copy of Parzival on his shelf (imagine those odds) commented, "The only ugly person in the whole work was the sorceress. Everyone else was at one stage of beautiful or gorgeous. After a while the comparisons did not seem very convincing."

I ditched Parzival about 3/4 through when I started coming down with whatever crud hit me and landed me in bed this weekend and picked up Günter Grass's Cat And Mouse instead.  It was fascinating though not exactly a fun read but I couldn't put it down until I had finished it.  I'd love to hash out the meaning with other reader's- anyone out there that's read it recently?  Thoughts?




Happy reading!

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Native Tennessee Giraffes

January 12, 2012 by Rieshy
                                                      Random meets Coincidence

On today's drive home my 4 yo asked, "Why do long-necks only eat long-necks?"

"What's a long-neck?  Is it a kind of animal?"

"I don't know?"

"Hmmm. I'm sorry, I don't know what your question means."

"I don't either," he replied in a melancholy voice.

17 yo took her head out of the novel Buddenbrooks, "There's long-neck in Buddenbrooks: Miss Langhals."


We turned the corner and saw a real life long-neck.  The touted but seldom seen Tennessee Giraffe.

But what does it eat?


Hold Tight To Your Brains

January 11, 2012 by Rieshy

Which begs the question...

where does one dump brains?
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Reading: Week 1

January 8, 2012 by Rieshy

I read Hildebrandslied over Christmas and my 17 yo was reading our copy of Niebelungenlied so I skipped ahead from my list and picked up All's Quiet On The Western Front.  Nothing like skipping ahead almost 1,000 years in a supposedly chronological study of German literature...

Remarque Im Westen nichts Neues 1929.jpg

All's Quiet was most impressive.  Well written and shocking.  Yet compared to so many current novels that seem to want to titillate with shock, the book rang honest. Warfare portrayed without a sentimental overlay and yet honor and humanity was a constant subtext.

I found it interesting that the book was almost entirely without enemies. In Remarque's telling one takes the villains with you into war.

This line really struck me, "It is very queer that the unhappiness of the world is so often brought on by small men.  They are so much more energetic and uncompromising than the big fellows."

I'm also currently reading Parzival by Wolfram Von Eschenback.  The contrast of a medieval tale full of single-hand combat and Remarque's WWI was jarring.

To muddy up the chronology even more I finished Undine by Fouqué.
Undine (novella) - cover - Project Gutenberg eText 18752.jpg

 My fist impression at the beginning of the story was that Undine would have benefitted by a good spanking from her fisher-parents.  I only continued reading because my 17 year old encouraged me.  As an imaginative fairy-tale/ghost story I can appreciate it.

I actually like the movie Ondine  better.

Happy Reading!

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Crafts Meet Medieval Lawn Supplies

January 5, 2012 by Rieshy

My 5 yo ran into my room with an exciting new craft idea.

"We could go into the garage and get a round piece of wood and attach it to a chain what is golden and then attach spikey things to the ball of wood and then swing the chain and smash the ball into things."

"A mace", said I.

"What's a mace."

"A round ball with spikes attached to a chain."

"Oh, yeah."

"Just what sort of things do you want to smash?"

"Oh, just the ground.  We wouldn't make the spikey things too sharp to hurt anyone.  Maybe we could hit bugs."

Sooooo, now I'm picturing 3 boys in the front yard with homemade maces.  How long do you think it would take them to aerate the lawn?

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Beware of Sleep

January 2, 2012 by Rieshy

Doctor: If you lift the left eye-lid you can see what they are dreaming.

Med. Student: Hmmmm.

Patient: Zzzzzzzz.

Putting the Laundry out to dry.

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